More Nutrition: Eating to Body Type

More Nutrition: Eating to Body Type

We have talked about body type before at LHR, mainly as a determinant of what type of runner you are. However, as we have expanded our conversation  into nutrition, body type has come back into the picture. This time to really determine if body types change how we should eat. (Hint: I believe it does). Let’s take a quick look at the differences.


Ectomorph

  • Light and lean
  • Long limbs
  • Fast metabolism
  • Excess energy burnt thru activities like fidgeting and heat
  • Easily satisfied, rarely hungry (forget to eat)
  • SNS dominant, thyroid dominant (fight or flight)
  • High carbohydrate tolerant

They can easily maintain a “lean-normal” to a “lean-athletic” body fat percentage. This person may struggle to put on muscle. General nutrition guidelines would look like this: Ectos: 55% carbs, 25% protein, 20% fat.

So, what does this look like? For men, each day may include:

Men:

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 10-12 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 2-4 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women: 

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 7-9 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 1-3 thumbs of fat dense foods

Mesomorph

  • Medium and balanced, naturally muscular
  • Middle of road metabolism
  • Excess energy usually builds lean mass
  • Normal appetite, hunger, satiation
  • More hungry if active
  • Testosterone and growth hormone dominant
  • Normal carb tolerance

The trained person will have above average muscularity with “lean-normal” to “lean-athletic” body fat. They may have denser bones than average. Their diet may be composed like this: 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat and look like the following.

Men (daily intake):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense food
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 6-8 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 6-8 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women (daily intake):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 4-6 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 4-6 thumbs of fat dense foods

Endomorph

  • Heavier, more body fat
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excess energy gets stored as fat
  • Often sensitive to appetite and hunger cues. Less sensitive to satiation and satiety cues.
  • PNS dominant (conserves energy, increases digestion and gland activity)
  • Lower than average carbohydrate tolerant

This person will have denser bones than average. They may have a fair amount of lean mass, but still have a relatively higher body fat. There diet may be composed like this: 25% carbs, 35% protein, 40% fat. In more practical terms, it may look like the following:

Men (daily):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 2-4 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 10-12 thumbs of fat dense foods.

Women (daily):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 1-3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 7-9 thumbs of fat dense foods

Take-Aways and Caveats:

What I want to point out here is that at no point is a macronutrient scaled back so far that another macro has to make up for it. We are simply maximizing (or minimizing) a macronutrient to reach the body’s needs. I can’t stress enough that the body needs all three of the macronutrients, but not necessarily in the same proportions that other people require. This is simply an easier way to individualize nutrition to your needs.

The second point I want to make is that these guidelines are for eating outside what we call the workout window. The workout window is the 1-2 hours before your workout, the workout itself, and then the 1-2 hour recovery window after the workout. Now, personally, I don’t refer to easy runs as workouts. These are usually short enough for most people where they don’t drastically alter your daily nutrition needs. I am referring to SOS days, or speed, strength, tempo, and long runs. These runs are usually long enough and intense enough to drastically change glycogen stores, even if you are “fat adapted” and we need to replace those calories with quality carbohydrates. With all the options out there nowadays, finding real food and/or quality options is no longer an issue.

Pre-exercise guidelines have been discussed previously, so we won’t enter those discussions again. During your workout, general guidelines are 30-45 grams per hour of exercise. This may be a gel(s), or the right mixture of fluid. There seems to be a little bit of mixed thoughts on protein or BCAA’s during exercise, but some say 15g of BCAA per hour will help with performance. Finally, recovery is of the utmost importance if you want to improve your ability to perform and perform more. Again, there’s a bit discussion of how much is needed, but I would recommend at least 15-20 grams (up to 40 grams) of high quality protein or BCAA. Then I would say 80g of a mix of high glycemic/low glycemic carbohydrates. A 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose to enhance replacement of what you have utilized during the workout.

Once outside your workout window, assuming that you have adhered to workout nutrition, keep your nutrition to the recommendations given your body type. This is just one strategy to employ when trying to individualize your nutrition, but still maximize performance. Hope this helps you navigate the waters a little bit!